Used a section of this abstract watercolor of poinsettias (inspired by a workshop I took at the Pacific Art League in Palo Alto) for our holiday card this year. Hope everyone has a relaxing holiday and a very happy new year!
After our Friendsgiving in LA, we drove out to Joshua Tree for the rest of the long weekend. We stayed in a cabin close to the park entrance.
Dinner on Friday evening was at Crossroads Cafe. It was packed! I liked the pulleys hanging by the window, so I did a quick sketch of the hungry crowd.
There are few good options for fine dining in the immediate area of the park, which is surprising since Palm Springs is a good 45 minutes away and there is no concessionaire in the park itself. Note to self: If I ever have enough money to invest in restaurants.... :-)
The park was vast and beautiful, filled with joshua trees, cholla cacti, and massive boulders. We were surprised to have the landscape to ourselves for much of the time; we expected many more visitors given the holiday. Perhaps the chilly weather put off the climbers.
I was glad to have layers, a hat and gloves as we hiked in Hidden Valley.
The joshua trees had unique "personalities." Even the desert rock formations were picturesque, especially near Skull Rock. This one had a top that looked like E.T.!
We meandered down the remote Black Eagle Mine Road before the swiftly setting sun forced us to turn around. The watercolor on the bottom was done from our cabin window -- that was the view out back!
We drove all the way through the park and had dinner at the Purple Palm, at the Colony Palms Hotel in Palm Springs. The dining room boasted vintage decor, including tasseled drum shades and detailed wallpaper.
In the morning I spied a jackrabbit in the yard so I sketched it while M. went on a bike ride. I don't know what it was eating, but it seemed very focused.
Unfortunately the wind was too intense for a second day's foray into the park, so we headed home. After some torrential rain as we neared LA, the skies cleared up again. And this happened:
I managed one final sketch during our molasses crawl northward on the I-5, of the intense post-storm light and thick clouds over the flat farmland.
Once again we found ourselves in balmy southern California for Thanksgiving. We left for LA very early in the morning, driving through thick fog. It soon gave way to the green and gold hills of Pacheco Pass.
I put away my sketchbook and settled in to listen to Mindy Kaling's audiobook. It made the monotony of the I-5 somewhat tolerable.
After a quick stop in Van Nuys to see M.'s cousin, we headed to Venice where we wandered along the canals and stole glimpses of fancy turkey day feasts taking shape in the waterfront homes.
Then we made our way to the beach, because what's Thanksgiving in LA without sandy toes and a balmy breeze?
Dinner was Korean BBQ at Genwa with an old friend, followed by drinks at the Culver Hotel. The next morning, we headed to Wi Spa for a soak and sauna before heading to downtown LA to meet USk friends Virginia Heim and Shiho Nakaza. We wandered around The Last Bookstore while we waited for them, and then had lunch at Bar Ama.
After lunch, Shiho and I sketched at Grand Central Market's G&B Coffee before we hit the road to Joshua Tree.
Saw the fantastic "Nutz Re-Mixed" at the Hammer Theatre a few weeks ago, featuring the a cappella group SoVoSo.
Their singing was a perfect complement to the acrobatics of the performers.
I don't usually watch baseball, but it was the Cubs. In the World Series. In Cleveland! So yeah, we tuned in to see the last inning. And yeah, it was nice to watch it from California, because it didn't end in the middle of the night for us.
Unlike in 2015, I wasn't as diligent about sketching every single day for this year's Inktober. Distractions included the ongoing soap opera that is our election. Still, I managed to crank out a good number of drawings.
Here's a quick portrait of M. done with a bottle of Higgins Blue waterproof ink that I found at a tag sale ages ago.
A quick one of Santa Teresa County Park on an overcast day.
And the KQED building in downtown San Jose.
The interior of a deli in Carmel.
The third and final Clinton-Trump debate.
Faces from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
The corner of 18th and Guerrero in San Francisco's Mission district, while waiting for a dinner reservation.
A carpet beetle, to serve as the reference for my Halloween costume.
A quick prep sketch for a commission I'm working on.
The Mountain View train station, while waiting for the MVGO shuttle to the office.
Inktober wouldn't be Inktober without some surreal word association sketches (M. opens vintage National Geographic magazines and gives me five words at random; my task is to tie them together in a drawing).
Some faces from TV.
And last but not least, a little Halloween sketch.
That's it for this year's installment of Inktober!
Only a few more days till we're in November! Need to catch up on my scanning and posting. Here's Dale Dougherty, founder of MAKE magazine & Maker Faire, being interviewed by science writer Kara Platoni at Kepler's Books in Menlo Park.
We have lots of deer in our neighborhood (though none in our yard, thankfully). I sketched this one from a photo I took.
And here's a little corner of our study/guest bedroom.
Yes, I confess I've been a bit on-again, off-again with my Inktober sketches this year.
Another year, another Inktober! Every day in October, a new sketch in ink.
Last Sunday, San Jose closed six miles of streets to car traffic, creating a pedestrian- and bike-friendly urban playground. M. and I took our bikes and joined in the fun. The heat was intense, so I only got a few sketches in. Here are my impressions of Japantown, where we visited vendor booths and watched San Jose Taiko, our local kumidaiko (Japanese ensemble drumming) troupe.
Later I sketched the flea market near Burbank Antiques on W. San Carlos Street while M. fixed a flat on his bike.
I noticed that there were more bikes than pedestrians this year -- perhaps due to the expanded route. Hope they increase the frequency of the event -- we discovered a lot of businesses along the way that we didn't even know existed!